Will Ralph Reed be back? Can the Democrats win in November? GOP out of touch with teen pregnancy and stem cell research?

David Ballard at the University of Georgia’s Red and Black warns us (or is happy to inform us, I can’t tell which) that we shouldn’t count out Ralph Reed:

If Reed hopes to get back into Georgia politics, he needs to mend some of the fences that were broken during the course of the Cagle-Reed slugfest. Having healed old wounds, Reed could then establish a nonprofit advocacy group that is apolitical.

Reed already has solid conservative credentials. His major weaknesses as a candidate are that he alienates centrist voters and enrages the left. Working for years on issues like autism awareness, however, could allow him to soften his image and consequently win elections.

Lastly, Reed should offer a sincere apology for any past wrongdoing. Reed lost because many of his early supporters believed that the man Time Magazine called “the Right Hand of God” had abandoned his Christian principles in order to win political victories. If Reed sincerely repents, however, he may be able to regain the trust of his former followers.

I honestly think that Ralph Reed’s crusade for the White House has come to an end.

I will acknowledge, however, that if Reed quickly makes some shrewd political moves, he may just be able to escape the political wilderness and resurrect his quest for glory.

Anything is possible, I suppose.  But I highly doubt it.

They’re calling it ‘speed dating with a twist,’ and its how voters are getting to know the democratic candidates running for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district seat.

“It became obvious it was too unwieldy, we had 9 candidates!” said Bart Dame, co-chair of the event.

The solution was to bring them to one place. Dame explained, “One member called it political speed dating.”

Seven candidates speaking at one time.  One candidate per group.  Two others waiting on the sidelines.

“The other two candidates can catch their breath or spy on others and hear what they have to say,” said Dame.

It was a great way for Josh Frost to weed out contenders.

“It’s not a debate format. There’s no kind of grand standing. It’s more personal,” said Frost.

Well, there’s just about 100 days until the midterm elections, and the Democrats’ chances of at least making serious inroads to regaining power is looking better and better each day.  ABC News has a report on the DNC’s election plan:

Democrats plan to press for a minimum wage increase and “tough, smart” national security in their final push to wrest power from the Republicans in the November elections.

House and Senate Democrats will hold a joint meeting on Thursday to discuss events planned for the 100 days leading up to midterm congressional elections and lay out their party agenda, called “A New Direction for America.”

It’s a compilation of positions the party has staked out over the past few months on income, national security, energy, education, health care and retirement accounts.

However, Dick Polman, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, believes another issue is key in defeating the Republicans this November:

The stem-cell issue is a textbook example of the fundamental divide within the Republican Party. Potentially, as the ’06 election draws near, this issue is political poison for the GOP, although that assumes the Democrats would know what to do with the gift that has been placed in their perpetually tremulous hands.

The issue itself – spending taxpayers’ money to conduct research on diseases by using stem cells taken from human embryos – is broadly popular among moderate Republicans, centrist Republicans and probably conservative Republicans whose loved ones suffer from serious illness. Two years ago, a University of Pennsylvania National Annenberg Election Survey reported that 53 percent of Republicans nationwide support stem-cell research. The overall national percentage of Americans favoring stem-cell work is as high as 70 percent…

… By all accounts, the Bush veto presents Democrats with an electoral opportunity. Many Republicans recognize this; a Northeastern party official told CNN that the stem-cell issue was a “stinker” for the GOP. The question is whether the Democrats can manage to invoke the Bush veto and rhetorically contend that the president is “out of the mainstream,” that he is “against” improving the health and reducing the suffering of his fellow citizens.

How will a Lieberman loss next month effect the Democrats’ chances in November?  The jury is out on that quetion:

Democratic strategists say the race also has important implications for the Democratic Party nationwide. Exit polls show that the Republican Party made inroads among Jewish voters in 2004, when President Bush received 25 percent of the Jewish vote, compared with 17 percent for Bob Dole in 1996.

Some Democrats worry that centrist Jewish Democrats will become alienated from the Democratic Party if Mr. Lieberman loses the primary. A loss of Jewish support could hurt the party’s chances of regaining control of Congress in November, those Democrats say.

Bob Geiger’s Political Report tackles Republican hypocrisy on teen pregnancy:

The Republican-controlled, 109th Congress has invented new modes of hypocrisy on an almost weekly basis and the Senate yesterday sure kept that ball rolling.

By a vote of 65-34, the Senate passed S. 403, a bill that made it a crime to go around parental-notification laws by transporting a pregnant minor across state lines for an abortion. Shortly before that, Senate Republicans mobilized to reject an amendment by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) that would have funded programs to reduce the very teen pregnancies at issue in the bill that was passed.

OK, you try figuring out whether or not the GOP wants teenagers to have babies.

“We all want to reduce teen pregnancies and abortions. To achieve that, we must do what works, not what pleases political constituencies,” said Lautenberg, referring to the GOP tendency to kiss up to the Religious Right, by supporting abstinence as the only solution to unwanted pregnancies. “A comprehensive approach to sex education, which includes both abstinence and information on contraception, is the proven way to reduce the number of teen pregnancies.”

“If the Senate passes this punitive bill but fails to do anything about teen pregnancy, it would prove that this exercise is only a political charade and not a serious effort to reduce abortions,” said Lautenberg, referring to S. 403.

As if on cue, Tom Coburn (R-OK) stepped up to the microphone and mouthed all the appropriate words for the Religious Right, saying that abstinence is the only solution.

“How many people really think it’s in the best interest of young people to be sexually active outside of marriage? Does anything positive ever come from that?” Coburn piously asked on the Senate floor.



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